Tell us about which medical school you attended and why it made the top of your list.
I attended the Indiana University School of Medicine. Originally from Indianapolis, it was important for me to be close to home. Due to there being only one medical university in Indiana and the program being well-ranked, this made the most amount of sense.
Where did you complete your residency? How/Why did you end up choosing that location?
I met my husband while in college and he moved to NYC for a job while I was in medical school. After graduation, we married and when it came to the search for a residency program, I knew I had to find something close to the city. I found a great residency program at New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center (now known as The New York Presbyterian Hospital). The pediatric service line was extremely busy which lead to a great, hands-on experience.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
I was a Piano Performance Major for the first year of my undergraduate studies. There was a progression to how I choose the field of medicine which first started with Biology. I loved this class which led me to change the course of my studies and in my junior year, I decided to go into medicine. It was the best of both worlds as it was based in the sciences and involved working with people.
How did you choose Pediatric Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
In year three and four of my rotations, I felt most comfortable and at home during my pediatric rotations. Afterward, it was a no brainer for me to go into pediatrics and after I started working in the Peds Ed at the University of Chicago, I decided to specialize in pediatric emergency medicine.
What do you enjoy most about your day to day practice?
Every day, I love experiencing the different connections I make with people and patients. Even on the days when you’re exhausted and don’t particularly want to be at work, seeing your first patient gets you going because you know you’ve helped someone along the way and done something worth-while.
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you during your MEMA tenure?
While this is a great question, it is also a difficult one. Often, we don’t remember the patients we are able to care for that get to go home. Too often, we recall those patients that didn’t have a good outcome and those we have lost – those memories stay with us.
Of course, I will always remember my very first patient. It was a three-year-old little boy with a case of diarrhea. I wish all our patient cases were that easy!
What led you to practice with MEMA?
Throughout the years, MEMA and their leadership have shown they have the foresight for what the community needs. In 2002, they took a risk and worked with Novant to open the first pediatric emergency department in Charlotte. When Michael Icenhour called to let me know they wanted me to help lead this effort, I knew it was the right fit and have appreciated the opportunities that MEMA has offered.
Please share with us your journey of becoming a Medical Director.
After I finished my three years of residency in New York, we relocated to Chicago to be closer to our families. I began working at the University of Chicago in their Pediatric Emergency Department and one-year in decided to do a Fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Once I completed the Fellowship, I stayed on as an attending and worked closely with the Director there.
In 1999, my husband was being recruited to move again either back to NYC or Charlotte and we decided to move to the Queen City. At the time, there were no pediatric emergency rooms in Charlotte, but I was able to keep up with my skills by driving back and forth to moonlight in the pediatric emergency room at the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC which was as a wonderful experience.
I had been in touch throughout the years with Michael Icenhour and in 2002, MEMA called with the news that Novant was looking to build their own pediatric emergency room. I was able to work with them from ground zero and we opened on July 27th in 2003 and was on the first shift!
As a Medical Director, tell us more about what that role entails and what do you find most gratifying about leading your team?
There has been an evolution to this position since the initial idea of developing Charlotte’s first pediatric emergency room. We worked hard to ensure we had the right equipment, team in place, and to build a relationship with Novant’s leadership. As we continued to grow, recruitment became a big focus and fast-forward 16 years later, I find the role to be filled with case reviews, patient engagement, and new initiatives.
We have the highest standard of care and I am proud of the team we have in place right now; it’s a cohesive group and I couldn’t ask for more.
If you could share any advice for other physicians who are interested in becoming a Director, what would that be?
I would share how important it is to educate yourself about the business side of running a practice or working within a healthcare system. Learning this (especially the financial piece) is not something we, as physicians, are tuned into. Also, I would encourage someone to learn about conflict management, dealing with sticky situations, and to hone in on your people skills.
Please share with us about your time spent on the MEMA Board of Directors.
I have really enjoyed being on the board and having the opportunity to be a leader for MEMA. I have always appreciated the fact the MEMA had the vision to support the development of the first Peds ED in the Charlotte area, so I view it as a privilege that I now am part of the MEMA leadership team.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
I am a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the NC College of Emergency Physicians, (NCCEP).
Have you received any awards or been recognized by your peers?
Yes! In 2018, I received the Medical Director of the Year Award from the North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians. It was a great honor! Additionally, I have been awarded one of Charlotte’s Top Docs by Charlotte magazine every year for over a decade, which is a true honor since this is voted on by other physicians.
What was your dream job when you were a child?
I wanted to be a professional Pianist with my ultimate dream of playing in Carnegie Hall.
What about Charlotte excites you?
We have been in Charlotte for 20 years and enjoy the location. Growing up in the Midwest, being close to the mountains and beach is fantastic! I have always been interested in history and Charlotte’s got a lot of it!
Do you have any hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
I’m not sure what you call this superpower, but I have raised three boys! When I do have time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, reading and playing the piano.